Today’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:12-6:12
Heavenly Father, the older I get the more I understand Ecclesiastes. I used to think this was one of the most depressing books of the Bible but now I see it as a book that has as much wisdom as Proverbs. Solomon had it all, did it all and owned it all. From the beginning he was driven to succeed, very goal oriented and never settled for less than his high expectations.
Here’s what he says about success during the later years of his life:
Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. —Ecclesiastes 4:4
Lord, in our 20s, 30, and 40s most of us would never admit that our motivation for success is to be like our neighbors. Now that I’m in my late 50s I will confess that more than likely that was my motivation for most of my life. In today’s world it’s even worse. We are tempted, stimulated and manipulated by the media and advertising from the time we are born (how many 3 year olds know what McDonald’s looks like?), so we don’t just envy our neighbors we envy advertisements, air-brushed people on magazine covers, celebrities, movie characters, and our social media friends’ pretend lives.
Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible got caught up in the success myth so we’re in good company, right? Here, I go again Lord, using the mistakes of people in Your Word to make me feel better about myself. While it does give me comfort, the purpose of Your Word is for us to learn from the mistakes of others, not feel better about our poor attitudes, desires, and choices.
From everything Solomon experienced this is what’s on his mind in his golden years:
So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. —Ecclesiastes 2:24
Lord, help me to enjoy each day’s work, food, and drink. Help me and my friends who are striving for “the good life” to stop striving and just enjoy the simple pleasures You provide. Forgive us for envying the lives of our neighbors, both the real and pretend ones.
In Jesus name. Amen and Amen!
©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:1-11:6